What you need to know about UBER in Argentina
Being a United States native, I have become accustomed to the luxuries of tapping my phone and magically making an uberX appear rather than hailing a cab. I was happy to know the same convenience would be available at my new home in Argentina. Only while Uber is a great service for me, I found out it not as easily accessible for Argentine residents. And it angered others.
IS UBER ILLEGAL IN ARGENTINA?
Uber started operating in Buenos Aires officially on April 12, 2016. Uber incorporated a local Limited Liability Company and without any authorization from the local Government of Ministry of Transportation they began operations. The company almost immediately experienced backlash from native taxi drivers. The Argentine government not only supported these drivers, but it also opened an investigation and took Uber court. Despite the resistance from the taxis union and the local government, UBER continues to operate normally in Buenos Aires, and it is one of the most efficient ways to navigate the city, especially for tourists and expats.
DOES UBER WORKS IN ARGENTINA?
Absolutely. Every day, dozens of international students studying at Vamos Academy are using Uber. We talk to them to learn more about their experience and so far, with some minor exceptions, everyone managed to use their apps normally.
Being in a new and unfamiliar city – and not knowing the native language makes UBER the perfect transportation method. I could get to where I was needed to go without the hassle of miscommunication with a taxi driver or any of the other things that can happen when taking regular taxis. If you want to try other forms of public transportation like using the subway, bus or train, here you will find a great guide to help you navigate the other alternatives.
UBER NOT WORKING FOR ARGENTINES
While Uber is a great resource for some, it is not the greatest for Argentine riders. I learned from a few Argentine friends that they are unable to use the app because the Argentine credit card won’t accept payments to UBER. Apparently, in an effort to block Uber the government has requested to Visa, Master Card and American Express not to allow Uber to process cards from Argentina.
I found this great and extensive article that explains how did the government manage to request the credit card processors to not accept payment for Uber in Argentina: http://www.lanacion.com.ar/1899352-las-tarjetas-de-credito-el-gran-desafio-de-uber-en-su-primer-mes-en-la-argentina
Of course, faithful to their style, Uber found alternative ways to allow Argentines to pay for the service. Basically, Porteños can do: Bank Transfer, Cash, Rapipago and PagoFacil (all Prepaid methods) a creative solution to a complex problem.
THE PORTEÑO TAXI DRIVERS REACTION TO UBER IN BUENOS AIRES CITY
Taxi drivers are very upset with Uber taking their business by offering lower prices. You probably didn’t know, but Uber drivers do not have to complete the same training and certification process as Argentine taxi drivers. They don’t have a proper passenger car insurance, they don’t pay the taxes cabbies pay. In a few words… they are completely unregulated.
Having been in Buenos Aires for over three years now, I have taken both taxis and Ubers from Vamos Academy to different places in the city. I like having the convenience of choosing when to leave with Uber but the availability of taxis after leaving a restaurant or bar. Let’s face it. Uber is likely here to stay. With the shifting mindset of the millennial generation, Uber and other ride-sharing companies are the future.
Uber latest update:
The app has announced that starting on September 1st 2020, they will start allowing TAXIS to download the app. In the past, Uber Argentina only offered UberX as an option, but now TAXIS will be integrated as a new category.